The more spirit and inner substance there is in us, the more beautiful our place and life is. Of course it is a terrible dissonance, a terrible disequilibrium which society presents to us. The external must be balanced by the inner life. Otherwise, with the absence of external occurrence, the inner world will take the upper hand too dangerously. The nerves and imagination would take a very great place in one’s being. Every external occurrence, because one hasn’t got used to it, appears colossal and in some way terrifying. You begin to be afraid of life. 

Dostoevsky in an 1847 letter to his brother Mikhail


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